What is Online Health and Safety Training, Really, and What Can it Do?


What Is Online Safety Training Image

Are you thinking about getting your health and safety training program online but maybe you're not entirely sure what exactly online safety training includes?

If so, you've come to the right place, because in this article, we're going to explain what an online health and safety training program is and what it can do.

You may find it's bigger than you're thinking right now. So with those beginnings, let's get on topic, huh?

But before we get going, please know we've got a free recorded on-demand webinar called Evaluating Online Safety Training Solutions that you may be interested in, too. You might also find a LOT of stuff interesting and helpful on your online safety training search in the guide below.

"Online" Health and Safety Training

Many people think of elearning courses when they think of online health and safety training or of online training in general. And elearning courses ARE part of the online training package. But elearning coursres are only one part of online safety training.

Let's turn our attention to the different parts of online health and safety training, starting with something called a learning management system, or LMS. From there we'll move on to talk about different types of online training, including elearning, checklist/task-based training, written training materials, and quizzes that can be used for safety training.

What Is a Learning Management System (LMS) and How Can It Be Part of an Online Health and Safety Training Program?

The first part of the online learning equation is a software application called a learning management system (LMS). An LMS is an online software application you can use to administer your health and safety training program. That means doing things like:

  • Assigning training to workers, including "one-and-done" training assignments and recurrent assignments for training that must be completed repeatedly
  • Letting workers see the training assignments they're responsible for completing
  • Letting workers see their current complete/incomplete status on assigned training
  • Providing workers the ability to enroll in optional training in addition to assigned training
  • Letting workers view and complete some (but not all) assigned training online--including e-learning courses and training of other types as well
  • Letting workers repeat training as a refresher if they wish
  • Updating training materials to create new versions, creating a repository of all versions of training materials, and tracking which workers completed which versions
  • Assessing learner's understanding of training through online tests/quizzes and also through field-based assessments of job task performances
  • Storing records of completed training
  • Printing certificates for completed training
  • Allowing reporting on completed training (and other training-related reporting)
  • Automatically emailing reports to LMS administrators
  • And more...

So in short, an LMS is a software system that completely automates many time-consuming tasks related to safety training and that makes other safety training-related tasks much easier and simpler to perform.

This short overview video explains more about what an LMS is and does (below):

The basic idea isn't rocket science and you already use computer systems to save time and make your life easier in many other parts of your work life and your life at home. Why not use computers to save you money and time while administering your safety and health training, too? The image below shows you what an LMS looks like to the average employee who logs in to view/complete his or her assigned health and safety training.

LMS Employee Safety Training Assignment Image

And below is what an LMS looks like to health and safety training managers who use the LMS to administer safety training. On the screen below, you see all the various training activities loaded into the LMS or created directly in the system. Note there are computer-based safety training courses (elearning) as well as other forms of safety training, including written documents and instructor-led classes.

Admin View of Safety Training Activities Inside an LMS Image

To learn more about LMSs and how they can be used for training, check some of the articles below:

Types of Training You Can Deliver Online Via an LMS

Now that you know what an LMS is and have a general idea of how you can use an LMS as part of an online health and safety training program, let's turn our attention to the "type" of training you can use with an LMS. The short answer is: all of it--elearning courses, instructor-led training, field-based/task-based training incorporating checklists, written training materials, and more.

In some cases, such as elearning courses for online safety training, you can use the LMS to do just about everything: assign, deliver, track completion, run reports, etc. In other cases, such as instructor-led safety training in a classroom, you can't deliver the training online via the LMS, but you can still use the LMS to assign, track completion, and run reports. In the sections below, we'll focus on four types of training you can deliver to your employees online:

  • Online safety training courses (eLearning courses)
  • Online task-based training incorporating checklists
  • Written training materials
  • Quizzes

Online Safety Training Courses

Maybe you know of online safety training as elearning courses, or as computer-based training courses (CBTs), or by yet another name. But when most people think of online safety training, this is what they're thinking of. They're courses delivered online and focused on specific training topics.

The video sample below gives you a quick idea of what we're talking about when we talk about online safety training courses.

Online safety training courses in this elearning format typically have many or all of these features:

  • Visual images, audio narration, and written audio script to provide training in a wide variety of information forms, helping to support the learning needs of as many employees as possible
  • Screen navigation and video play/pause/replay controls to allow your employees to proceed through training at their own preferred training pace
  • Unscored questions to reinforce key points to employees and provide an opportunity for practice and feedback
  • Scored tests to assess the employee's understanding on a pass/fail basis
  • The ability to review a course at any time, 24/7, as a refresher

You've probably seen online health and safety tarining courses before, but here's one example--a still image from an online safety training course about forklift safety that illustrates the "stability triangle."


Here's a short video sample from the same forklift safety course for online safety training:

Looking for more examples? Check our online health and safety training library and our online mining safety and MSHA compliance library.

Online safety training courses offer lots of benefits for your training, including:

  • In some cases, an online training course provides more effective training than other training methods. This can be because of online courses's ability to deliver sophisticated visuals, for example. See this research report by the well-regarded learning professional Dr. Will Thalheimer for evidence backing this up, or simply read our "Is eLearning Effective?" discussion with Dr. Thalheimer.
  • Online safety training courses give your workers more control and flexibility over things like the pace of training.
  • At times when training delivered in different methods is equally effective, online safety training courses may be the most cost-effective training solution when training can be delivered equally effectively in various training methods.
  • Online safety training courses can be easier to use when delivering training to a large workforce on a "just-in-time" basis.
  • Online safety training courses make it easier for workers to access and view training again for periodic refreshers.
  • Online safety training courses makes it easier to deliver a standard, consistent training message than (for example) instructor-led training.
  • Online safety training courses are easier to deliver to a geographically dispersed workforce or to workers on different shifts
  • eLearning courses can be delivered online to mobile devices for mobile safety training

You probably know you can buy online safety training courses from training providers. You can get them "off the shelf" or have them made custom for your training needs. But did you know you can also make your own elearning courses for online health and safety training? It's true and it's easy enough. Want to know how? Here are some helpful resources:

Well, that's a lot about elearning courses for online safety training, but if you're still curious, check some of the articles below too:

Online Training for Site-Specific, Task-Based Procedural Training (Job Skill Training)

Although online safety training courses can be a great addition to your online health and safety training solution, they're not the only type of online training you can use within an LMS.

For example, many work places have to train workers on the correct and/or safe way to perform certain job skills or procedures. One handy way to do this is with an online "checklist"-type of tool. You can use the checklist to teach a procedure to a worker and/or to later evaluate if the worker is performing the procedure in a proper, safe manner. If you work in manufacturing or industry, you probably are familiar with this type of training even if you don't do it online. And if you're part of the "lean manufacturing" world, you probably also know this basic idea from the Training Within Industry Job Instruction (JI) method of teaching job skills.

Here's an example of a "Tasklist" below. It was created directly inside an LMS with tools that come built-into the LMS. It's a simple safety-based procedural skill--how to operate a fire extinguisher using the PASS method. This can be assigned to a worker online. The worker can view the procedure that he/she has been assigned and all the steps. You can even add images and/or video files illustrating how to perform each step if you wish. You'll note that there's a place where an instructor can "check the worker off" for each step in the process. These can be used so that an instructor can take the worker out into the field and have the worker perform each step while the instructor evaluates the worker's performance. If you want, you can create the Tasklist so it requires dual check-offs from the worker and the instructor, and you can even use the LMS to capture signatures from both.

fire extinguisher pass tasklist for online safety procedure training

Click here to read more articles about checklists, job training, and learning management systems:

Written Materials (Such as SOPs, Policies, and PowerPoints) as Part of Your Online Health and Safety Training Program

You can also use written materials as part of your online health and safety training program. For example, below is a PDF about the proper use of respirators. This could be assigned to workers. It would then be their responsibility to read the document. There's even a place where they can check off, acknowledging that they have read and understood it.

Online written material for online safety training image

Self-Created Online Quizzes as Part of Your Online Health and Safety Training Program

Another aspect of "online health and safety training" is the ability to create your own online quizzes, assign them to workers, and have them completed through the LMS online. This allows you to create your own, entirely site-specific quizzes that match the health and safety training requirements at your work. You write the questions, you mark the correct answers, you write the feedback for people who get the answer correct or incorrect, and you set the passing score.

An online safety training quiz question of the sort you can easily create with an LMS is shown below:

PPE Quiz for online safety training image

Conclusion: Online Health and Safety Training Is More Than Just eLearning/Online Saefty Training Courses

By now we hope you've got a better idea of what an online health and safety training solution can do. Maybe one or two things caught you by surprise? Maybe pleasantly?

The LMS allows you to automate many of the functions you're doing manually today. Say goodbye to all the scheduling logistics, the manual creation of training records, storing records in multiple locations, trying to keep track of training that must be taken repeatedly, paper-based tests, and more. You also saw four different ways an LMS can deliver training materials, through elearning, field-based tasklists, online quizzes, and even written materials (in formats like PDF and PowerPoint).

And we only mentioned, but didn't go into detail, how the LMS can help you administer training that doesn't occur online, such as instructor-led training. You can notify assigned learners and inform them of the time and location, allow them to download an agenda or pre-class reading material before they arrive, grant them credit for attending, store completion records, run reports, and more.

Let us know if you've got any questions. You can use the comments field below or just contact us with any questions or to set up a demo.

Before you go, feel free to download our guide to effective EHS training, below.

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